17 Jun 2002
Aided by positive legislation, the European industrial vision systems markets is slated to rise from its 1999 figure of $574.9 million to reach $2.1 billion by 2006, according to a market report by Frost & Sullivan. Optimistic forecasts are primarily a result of the increasingly fundamental role that vision systems play within manufacturing.
Analysis currently shows the market for 1-D and 2-D metrology systems as the largest market sector. The markets for guidance systems and web inspection systems follow in second and third place respectively, two sectors that are demonstrating particularly strong growth.
Major players in the market include Cognex, Honeywell Measurex and RVSI Europe. However, no single company exerts a clear domination of the market, manufacturers achieving market shares of 5.0 per cent or less account for 81.6 per cent of total market participants. Companies within the market tend to hold a transnational market base, facilitating the exploitation of economies of scale.
The increasing flexibility in automation and the growth in the electronic components market are proving to be major drivers affecting the industry, according to analyst Robert McNally. European legislation is establishing itself to be a positive factor, as vision systems assist organizations to meet stringent requirements concerning quality and waste control. At the same time, however, the industry faces a number of challenges, including the reduction of associated capital costs and minimizing the training required for end-users to employ systems successfully.
"Developing standards, continuing technical innovations, and the trend towards PC platforms will be the major factors influencing future developments in this market," says McNally.
Companies are pursuing a number of individual strategies in order to achieve competitive advantage, including approaches that focus on niche markets and those not fully served by standardized solutions. In turn, a number of companies offer a variety of industrial vision functions on one system, thus providing multifunctional systems to such markets as the automotive and semiconductor industries.